Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
May 27, 2010
The Ojibwe or Chippewa are people of the forest and respect the fearsome animals who call the forest home, especially the black bear. On the eastern shore of Lake Michigan lies a series of sand dunes on a high bluff overlooking two islands. The Ojibwe believe the islands and the one dune peering towards the islands were created by the Great Spirit. And that brings us to our story, the legend of Sleeping Bear (as told by me).
A mother bear and her two cubs were walking along the western shore of Lake Michigan in what is now Wisconsin. The mother bear could see into the distance all around them the flames and smoke of an enormous forest fire coming their way. The fire and flames and smoke crept closer and closer to the bear and her cubs, and they had nowhere to flee. The mother bear gathered her two cubs and swam into the lake to escape the terrifying flames. The fire would not go away, and the family was forced to swim eastward hoping to soon find dry land and safety across the lake.